Complications of splenectomy

Am J Med. 2008 May;121(5):371-5. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2008.02.014.


Surgical removal of the spleen, splenectomy, is a procedure that has significantly decreased in frequency as our understanding of the infectious complications of the asplenic state increased. The full spectrum and details of splenic function, however, have yet to be fully outlined. As a result, our comprehension of the long-term consequences of splenectomy remains incomplete. We review the evidence relating to the effects of splenectomy on infection, malignancy, thrombosis, and transplantation. Perhaps the best-defined and most widely understood complication of splenectomy is the asplenic patient's susceptibility to infection. In response to this concern, novel techniques have emerged to attempt to preserve splenic function in those patients for whom surgical therapy of the spleen is necessary. The efficacy of these techniques in preserving splenic function and staving off the complications associated with splenectomy is also reviewed in this article.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Infections / complications
  • Neoplasms
  • Splenectomy / adverse effects*
  • Thrombosis
  • Transplantation